MIDEM 2013 is the first to be attended by representatives from the music industry in Ghana. Kofi Amoakohene, CEO of Scratch Studios and Entertainment, Ltd., talked with Frank J. Oteri about the importance of connecting West Africa to the global music community.
‘Meanwhile, the entire continent of Africa, which has over 50 independent countries, has traditionally been poorly represented at MIDEM. As I mentioned yesterday, I was very excited to see that representatives from Ghana, Senegal, and Congo were listed as exhibitioners.
Unfortunately, the Senegal and Congo booths remain empty thus far. I learned that the delegations from those countries were unable to secure visas to enter France.
I did however have an opportunity to speak with Kofi Amoakohene, the CEO of Scratch which is a Ghana-based private recording and recording distribution company that also publishes a music magazine which is available both in hard copy and online.
They are the defacto music information and advocacy center for Ghana. I was proud to tell Amoakohene that back in 2001 we featured Ghana-born, Portland OR-based composer and master drummer Obo Addy on these pages and then we proceeded to talk about how to foster stronger musical relations between Ghana and the United States.
Ghana, of course, has been an important source of inspiration for composers ranging from Steve Reich (Drumming) to Wynton Marsalis. (Marsalis’s Congo Square features Obo Addy’s brother Mustapha Teddy Addy who is still based in Ghana).
He also told me about Gyedu-Blay Ambolley, whom he claimed was doing hip-hop before anyone else in the world. But you should hear about Ghanaian music and its impact on the United States as well as what it means to be at MIDEM directly from Amoakohene.